Friday, January 07, 2011

Moving Away from Counter-Insurgency

Yglesias is right about this one:

The beginning of the framework is that we should reduce the scale of our economic commitment to the military, which over time means not just fiddling with procurement but actually doing less and having a smaller force structure. Less what? In particular, I think we should actually move away from the COIN/MOOTW paradigm and focus on the idea of deterring and defeating military attacks on the United States and sundry allies. It should be possible to do that without representing 50 percent of global defense expenditures, especially when the allies in question are generally the richest countries on earth.

I think COIN has a poor track record of success, a terrible track record in a cost/benefit sense, and that the self-conscious development of COIN capabilities risks inducing demand for military action. When someone asks “what’s the point of having this magnificent military if you’re not going to use it” I want the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to have a very good answer at his disposal like “it’s there so that we don’t have to use it” not “eh, maybe so.”

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